Sexual abuse can have far-reaching consequences. Survivors may experience physical harm, but the psychological impacts can be much more devastating. Victims may feel betrayed and ashamed. They may be afraid to come forward because they fear that others will not believe them and may retaliate against them.
In many cases, survivors of sexual abuse need years, or even decades, to process what has happened to them. They may struggle to get through school, hold a job, and build relationships. Victims may spend thousands of dollars on treatment for anxiety, depression, eating disorders, and other mental health issues. They may find it difficult or impossible to focus on achieving their goals and reaching their full potential, according to the American Counseling Association.
If the abuser were a member of the clergy, that can make the abuse even more difficult to discuss and to overcome. A faith leader may have used religion to attempt to justify the abuse. That can be confusing, especially for a child who is victimized. A young person may not understand that he or she has been abused or may not know how to talk about it with others. The child may fear that adults will side with the abuser, who is a respected figure, and punish the victim.
If you were abused by a religious leader, an Albany clergy abuse lawyer may be able to help you seek justice. Pintas & Mullins Law Firm is not afraid to take on difficult cases and hold powerful people and institutions accountable for their actions. Call our office today at (800) 219-9622 to speak with a member of our staff.
What Sexual Abuse Is and Who Can Be Abusers and Victims
Forms of sexual abuse include:
- Non-consensual acts, such as groping, intercourse, and forced touching.
- Taking photos or videos of someone undressed
- Participating in sexual acts without permission
Although the Catholic Church has made headlines in recent years because of allegations of sexual abuse from priests, leaders of any religion may abuse others.
Sometimes religious leaders, teachers, or other authority figures abuse victims, and then a religious institution engages in a systematic campaign to cover it up. People in positions of authority may refuse to investigate alleged abuse and punish victims and anyone else who tries to help them. Leaders may convince relatives that a victim is lying, or they may threaten to punish the entire family if they report the abuse to the authorities.
Religious leaders may remove an abusive member of the clergy and claim that they have dealt with the problem, but they could have sent the abuser to another location. That can allow abusers to gain access to more potential victims and let the problem continue for years or decades. It can also embolden other abusers, who may expect that they will not be punished for their own actions if they get caught.
How an Albany Clergy Abuse Lawyer May Be Able to Help You
A lawyer from Pintas & Mullins Law Firm can listen to what happened to you and how the abuse has affected you physically, emotionally, and financially. They can gather evidence and witnesses who can back up your claim.
That may be difficult if the abuse happened long ago, but we may be able to get in touch with people who knew you or the abuser then and learn about things that others’ experiences with the abuser. We may also be able to review the religious institution’s internal documents, educational records, letters, photographs, and videos that were taken around the time.
Once we have uncovered evidence to support your allegations, we may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit against the individual who abused you. We may also be able to sue the religious institution or school the abuser worked for if we discover that it covered up the alleged abuse, threatened or retaliated against you, or simply moved the abuser to another location and put others at risk.
We may be able to seek a financial award to cover costs for medical care that you needed at the time. This can involve treating physical injuries from a sexual assault, an unintended pregnancy, or a sexually transmitted infection. You may also be entitled to compensation for expenses related to mental health care. If the psychological impacts of the abuse kept you from finishing school or working, you may be eligible for compensation for lost earning capacity, plus a financial award for pain and suffering.
Call Pintas & Mullins Law Firm today to help you figure out which awards you can pursue.
For a free legal consultation with a Clergy Abuse Lawyer serving Albany, call (800) 219-9622
Hire an Albany Clergy Abuse Lawyer
In the past, New York law set strict statutes of limitations for victims of sexual abuse to take legal action. Lawmakers realized that survivors often were not ready to come forward and seek justice until long after those statutes of limitations had expired.
New York State then passed Senate Bill S2440, also known as the Child Victims Act, which extended the statute of limitations for survivors of child sexual abuse to file a civil lawsuit. It gives victims until the age of 55 to sue not only the person who abused them but also “any party whose intentional or negligent acts or omissions are alleged to have resulted in the commission of that conduct.” If a religious organization or school did not take appropriate action to prevent or address abuse, we may sue that body, in addition to the person who abused you, to pursue justice.
Coming forward and taking legal action against the person who abused you and others who were complicit may be difficult. However, Pintas & Mullins Law Firm may be able to help you file a lawsuit on your behalf and seek a financial award to compensate you for what you have endured. While that would not change the past, it could give you peace of mind and help you move forward. Call us today at (800) 219-9622 to discuss your case with a member of our staff and to learn more about how we may be able to help you.